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Write in response to the following prompts about plot, irony, character, and theme in “The Lady with the Pet Dog.” 1. Summarize the plot, the sequence of events, in Chekhov’s story. Is there a particular scene that you might identify as the climax or turning point? What does the end imply might happen to Gurov and Anna? 2. Certainly it is ironic for Gurov that he finds himself falling in love at his age with a younger woman with whom he intended simply to have a brief affair. Anna and his feelings about her undercut his expectations as well as his understanding of himself. How does this make you feel about Gurov? Does it make him more sympathetic, despite the fact that he is an inveterate womanizer? Make your own assessment of him: Is is character immoral in your view, foolish, understandable, likeable in some way? What about Anna? Why does she choose to have an affair with Gurov? What do her motives seem to be? What is it about her that you might speculate captures Gurov’s heart? 3. At the end of the story, as Gurov is walking his daughter to school while on his way to see Anna, he thinks to himself that he is living two lives: an open, public life and a secret, private one–and that “everything that was essential . . . and of value to him, everything in which he was sincere and did not deceive himself” was part of his secret life (Chekhov 62). What do you think he is getting at? Do you agree or disagree that your everyday outward public life often may give a false impression of your true feelings and attitides and beliefs? Might that be part of Chekhov’s theme or message?

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